Westlink wins Country Qualifier

Casino Prince gelding Westlink has booked a spot in the $500,000 Country Championship Final at Randwick following a commanding victory in the first qualifier at Dubbo on Sunday.

Westlink is trained locally by Darren Hyde for owner-breeder Darryl Juratowitch.  “This is my biggest moment in racing.  I’m speechless,” Hyde said.  “I couldn’t have got him any better.  He’s rock-hard fit and everyone, from the vet to the farrier and chiropractor did a great job to make sure he was right.

“Randwick is still a little way away at this stage.  I wish it was in two weeks and not six but we will sort something out.”

Hyde and Juratowitch had come close to qualifying for the 2015 Country Final when Found At Last missed out by a length in the Western Racing Association heat at Dubbo.

Westlink weaved his way through the field at the top of the straight to win by three lengths running away.  “Full credit to Darren.  He’s a very nice horse,” jockey Adam Hyeronimus said.  “I had to bide my time to secure a clear run but was confident the gap would come.”

The Country Championship Final (1400m) will be run at Randwick on April 6 after further heats worth $150,000 at Port Macquarie, Albury, Goulburn, Mudgee, Tamworth, Grafton & Muswellbrook.

Vinery sire Pluck (USA) has the nominal favourite for the Port Macquarie qualifier this Sunday, February 17, with Awesome Pluck.  He will be aiming for a hat-trick on the back on wins at Eagle Farm and Doomben in December.

Casino Prince sired Westlink in his first book at Vinery from Comedy Express (Rory’s Jester).  Her final foal Mehboob (Snippetson) is an unraced 3yo with Paul O’Sullivan in Hong Kong.